CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a solar farm which would have provided electricity for up to 2,682 homes a year have been thrown out by Bromsgrove District Council’s planning committee.
The proposal for the land at Rectory Farm, off Grafton Lane, in Upton Warren, was put forward by Markus Wierenga after a larger portion of the application was refused by Wychavon District Council in August.
The 47.39acre site is mostly located in Wychavon district, with a triangle of land approximately three acres at the northern end of the site falling under the jurisdiction of Bromsgrove District Council.
The site borders the M5 to the west, Rectory Lane to the south and a large area of open greenbelt to the east and north.
The development would have consisted of 33,748 solar panel modules arranged in rows, separated by three to four metres.
The panels would have been tilted at an angle of 25 degrees and would have been between 0.8metres and 2.3metres high. The lifespan of the panels would have been about 25 years.
The scheme had the potential to produce 8.94MW of electricity under peak operating conditions, reducing the carbon admissions by 4,470 tonnes a year.
Planning officers recommended the application be refused as they considered it was an inappropriate development within the greenbelt.
They claimed the benefits identified by the applicant, including the need for renewable energy generation, were not sufficient and did not outweigh the harm which would be caused to the openness and visual amenity of the greenbelt.
It was also noted the development would see an array of panels over two metres high in a currently undeveloped area, which would also be highly visible from Rectory Lane and from the public footpaths in the area.
A conservation officer who looked at the application also recommended it for refusal claiming it would have had a negative impact on the development on the setting of the surrounding listed buildings.
They argued the applicant appeared to have dismissed the potential harm which would have been caused to the setting of the area’s listed buildings on the basis that the development was ‘temporary’, lasting only 25 years.
The planning committee rejected the proposal at its meeting on Monday (September 7).